“Train”, conservation detection dog at work in Misiones, Argentina – Photo credit: Karen DeMatteo
Since 2007, we have had a collaborative project in Misiones, Argentina with multiple institutions including the Saint Louis Zoo, University of Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis, Ministerío de Ecología, Universidad Nacional de Misiones, and CONICET. The project is aimed at understanding the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of habitat use for five overlapping and wide-ranging carnivores: bush dog, jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), and oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus). Our study uses a detection dog and genetic analyses of scat to detect the presence of these carnivores and uses the locational data associated with each sample and GIS technology to gain insight into habitat use and connectivity between areas. Surveys have been successfully conducted in and around numerous protected areas in the northern and central zone, as well as the mostly unprotected areas between the two zones resulting in valuable data on all five species, including the bush dog. We have completed a comprehensive regional conservation plan that identifies biological corridors that provide a connection between the two zones while minimizing human-wildlife conflict and maximizing species mobility. The current goal is to work with various agencies, industries, and private land-owners to secure protection in the identified areas and survey current levels of biodiversity.
Karen DeMatteo - Washington University in St. Louis and the WildCare Institute – Saint Louis Zoo, USA
Carina Argüelles – Laboratorio GIGA , Instituto de Biología Subtropical, nodo Posadas, Universidad National de Misiones, and CONICET (Misiones, Argentina)
Miguel Rinas – Ministerio de Ecología (Misiones, Argentina)